Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Barbara Golden, PsyD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Scott Glassman, PsyD


As of 2012, approximately 117 million adults have experienced at least one chronic illness (CDC; 2014). Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the probability of developing particular chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and specific forms of cancer (CDC; 2014). Individuals with chronic conditions may continue engaging in unhealthy lifestyle choices, despite having knowledge of the adverse ramifications. This includes nicotine use, dieting, and a sedentary lifestyle with limited physical activity. There are various manners in which primary care practitioners can address lifestyle choices with their patients. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a patientcentered approach, which is used to facilitate readiness to make behavioral changes. Although research has demonstrated the efficacy of MI in medical settings, it is not a commonly utilized approach by medical practitioners. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether or not practitioner orientation (disease-centered or patientcentered) influences a practitioners’ self-perceived adherence to an MI style of communication. Participants for the study included physicians and non-physicians (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) who were practicing in a primary care setting. The findings indicate a relationship between practitioner orientation and perceived adherence to an MI style of communication. Practitioners generally endorsed a perceived MI style of communication, suggesting that practitioners in medical settings believe they are utilizing MI when addressing lifestyle choices. Additional research is warranted to determine whether or not a perceived MI style of communication translates to actual clinical practice in primary care settings.

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Psychology Commons